If you are planning to visit, or move to, an island nation or state such as Hawaii, American Samoa, Tahiti, New Zealand, Japan, Australia or the UK please visit ‘Traveling to rabies-controlled areas’ first. 

 

Traveling with dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, rodents, hedgehogs (including tenrecs), reptiles, amphibians and pet birds such as parrots, parakeets, finches and canaries:

     

     First, you need to visit the USDA Pet Travel Website https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel.  A USDA Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), or Health Certificate, issued by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian, will be required if you are planning to travel by air, whether internationally or domestically.  This will not typically be required if you are traveling domestically in a motor vehicle.

     The CVI/Health Certificate does require a physical exam by the veterinarian, with associated charges, and dogs and cats must be up to date with at least rabies vaccination.  Other preventive care measures such as Distemper/Parvo vaccine, Bordetella, parasite prevention including heartworm prevention and a stool sample microscopic exam for parasites are all strongly recommended.  The CVI/Health Certificate is valid for 10 days when leaving, 30 days when returning home.

     These rules apply to assistance animals, therapy animals, service animals, and emotional support animals just like they do to pets.  DO NOT ASSUME that you will be granted an exception simply because you need to keep your animal with you at all times.  You WILL be disappointed.

     If you are traveling internationally you will want to visit the USDA Pet Travel Website https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel MONTHS in advance of your departure date.  Here you will find further information including a database maintained by the USDA to help you understand the steps, including tests and vaccines, you will have to take to prepare your pet to travel with you internationally.  These requirements are established by each individual country according to their laws, so they vary significantly from country to country, and can change without warning.  The USDA does an excellent job keeping up with these changes, but you will want to check this website repeatedly, as well as contacting the USDA Veterinary Services Office in your area https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/endorsement-offices as you complete your pet’s preparations.

     These rules apply to assistance animals, therapy animals, service animals, and emotional support animals just like they do to pets.  DO NOT ASSUME you will be granted an exception simply because you need to keep your animal with you at all times.  You WILL be disappointed.  Also, be aware the laws of the United States that provide special allowances for therapy, service, assistance and emotional support animals do not apply outside of the United States.

     Be aware you are not ‘just taking your pet on a trip with you’.  In the eyes of the animal disease control officials in the foreign country you are visiting you are importing an animal into a foreign country.  There are SERIOUS international regulations regarding this that have been put in place to protect the animal related industries in the countries involved.  Obviously, your pet is not livestock, but your pet can carry diseases that affect livestock, and can transmit these to livestock in the country you are visiting.  Your pet can also carry diseases that can be transmitted to people.  The government simply wants to ensure they are regulating the risk of letting people bring foreign animals into the country.

     Finally, as you complete your pet’s traveling papers you will need to obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), or Health Certificate, from a USDA Accredited Veterinarian.  Not every veterinarian provides this service because gaining USDA Accreditation is a complicated, frustrating, and time-consuming process, plus USDA Accredited Veterinarians must deal with the bureaucratic hassles associated with issuing and assuming responsibility for CVI’s, or Health Certificates.  The veterinarians of A Caring Vet Hospital, and Pet Medical Services (Feel free to include only the name of your hospital here) are all USDA Accredited.  

     However, do not expect us to have the CVI/Health Certificate waiting for you and to know all the details about completing it.  We are experts in treating and preventing animal disease, not in animal importation and exportation.  Each individual country’s veterinary inspection process is different.  We can assist you with animal exportation and importation, but it is not a primary focus of what we do.  Things will go much smoother if you take time to be well prepared ahead of your visit to complete the CVI/Health Certificate.

     If all your pet’s paperwork is not in order when you travel, and it is found that some detail of your pet’s preparations was not perfectly completed you may face the unpleasant situation of your pet being quarantined, against your will but at your expense.  Therefore, you want to start your preparations well in advance, so you will not have to rush and run the risk of some detail being overlooked.

     For international travel you will also need to have the CVI endorsed by a 2nd veterinarian directly employed by the USDA.  Fortunately, this can often be done online, but do not count on this until you verify it with the endorsement office. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/endorsement-offices.  There are fees associated with obtaining this USDA Endorsement in addition to the fees associated with obtaining a CVI from your USDA Accredited Veterinarian.  These fees are set by the USDA, not by your local USDA Accredited veterinarian.  You can find these fees here https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/pet-travel-info-and-guidance-document/pet-travel-endorsement.  

     The bureaucratic hassles of traveling with your pet can be nightmarish, especially when traveling internationally.  Your USDA Accredited Veterinarian, and the USDA Endorsing Veterinarian are there to serve you, to ensure that a complex and difficult process goes smoothly so you and your pet can enjoy your trip instead of enduring a nightmare of bureaucratic hassles in a foreign country.  Please be prepared to work with them as they do their best to make a very complex process as simple as possible for you.

 

 

Traveling with chickens, doves, ducks, geese, grouse, guinea fowl, partridges, pea fowl, pheasants, pigeons, quail, swans, turkeys or birds of prey:

     

     If your pet is a commonly kept pet bird species such as a parrot, parakeet, finch or canary traveling with your pet inside, or outside, the United States is much like described elsewhere for dogs and cats, except for the vaccinations.  Please visit this link for further information “Traveling with dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, rodents, hedgehogs (including tenrecs), reptiles, amphibians and pet birds such as parrots, parakeets, finches and canaries”

     If your pet is a Chicken, Dove, Duck, Goose, Grouse, Guinea Fowl, Partridge, Pea Fowl, Pheasant, Pigeon, Quail, Swan, Turkey or bird of prey traveling with your pet inside, or outside, the United States will be significantly more complex.  This is because your pet can carry and transmit diseases that are heavily controlled to protect the poultry industry in the United States, and internationally.  Therefore, your pet’s travel will be regulated as though you are transporting poultry if you are traveling domestically, or if you are traveling internationally your pet’s travel will be regulated as though you are exporting and importing poultry.  

     If you are traveling domestically, within the United States, you will first need to visit the USDA website for information about interstate movements of poultry. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/nvap/NVAP-Reference-Guide/Animal-Movement/interstate-regulations  You should also contact the State Veterinarian’s Office for the State you are traveling to for any further information you may need https://www.usaha.org/saho.  The State you are travelling to will be the one that sets the requirements for allowing your bird into the State.

     The government of the foreign country you are travelling to will be responsible for setting the requirements for allowing your pet into the country, if you are traveling internationally.  Therefore, you will first need to visit the USDA International Regulations (IRegs) for Animal Exports Home Page https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/animal-exports.  You will want to do this MONTHS in advance of your travel date.  Here you will find further information including a database maintained by the USDA to help you understand the steps, including tests and vaccines, you will have to take to prepare your pet to travel with you internationally.  These requirements are established by each individual country according to their laws, so they vary significantly from country to country, and can change without warning.  The USDA does an excellent job keeping up with these changes, but you will want to check this website repeatedly, as well as contacting the USDA Veterinary Services Office in your area https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/endorsement-offices as you complete your pet’s preparations.

     These rules apply to assistance animals, therapy animals, service animals, and emotional support animals just like they do to pets.  DO NOT ASSUME you will be granted an exception simply because you need to keep your animal with you at all times.  You WILL be disappointed.  Also, be aware the laws of the United States that provide special allowances for therapy, service, assistance, and emotional support animals do not apply outside of the United States.

     Be aware you are not ‘just taking your pet on a trip with you’.  In the eyes of the animal disease control officials in the country you are visiting you are importing an animal into a foreign country.  There are SERIOUS international regulations regarding this that have been put in place to protect the animal related industries in the countries involved.  Obviously, your pet is not livestock, but your pet can carry diseases that affect livestock, and transmit these to livestock in the country you are visiting.  Your pet can also carry diseases that can be transmitted to people.  The government simply wants to ensure they are regulating the risk of letting people bring foreign animals into the country.

     Finally, as you complete preparation of your pet’s traveling papers you will need to obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), or Health Certificate, from a USDA Accredited Veterinarian.  Not every veterinarian provides this service because gaining USDA Accreditation is a complicated, frustrating, and time-consuming process, plus USDA Accredited Veterinarians must deal with the bureaucratic hassles associated with issuing and assuming responsibility for CVI’s, or Health Certificates.  The veterinarians of A Caring Vet Hospital, and Pet Medical Services (Feel free to include only the name of your hospital here) are all USDA Accredited.  

     However, do not expect us to have the CVI/Health Certificate waiting for you and to know all the details about completing it.  We are experts in treating and preventing animal disease, not in animal importation and exportation.  Each individual country’s veterinary inspection process is different.  We can assist you with animal exportation and importation, but it is not a primary focus of what we do.  Things will go much smoother if you take time to be well prepared ahead of your visit to complete the CVI/Health Certificate.

     If all your pet’s paperwork is not in order when you travel, and it is found that some detail of your pet’s preparations was not perfectly completed you may face the horrendously unpleasant situation of your pet being quarantined, against your will but at your expense in a foreign country.  Therefore, you want to start your preparations well in advance, so you will not have to rush and run the risk of some detail being overlooked.

     For international travel you will also need to have the CVI/Health Certificate endorsed by a 2nd veterinarian directly employed by the USDA.  Fortunately, this can often be done online, but don’t count on this until you verify it with the endorsement office. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/endorsement-offices.  There are fees associated with obtaining this USDA Endorsement in addition to the fees associated with obtaining a CVI from a USDA Accredited Veterinarian.  These fees are set by the USDA, not by us.  You can find these fees here https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/pet-travel-info-and-guidance-document/pet-travel-endorsement

     The bureaucratic hassles of traveling with your pet can be nightmarish, especially when traveling internationally.  Your USDA Accredited Veterinarian, and the USDA Endorsing Veterinarian are there to serve you, to ensure that a complex and difficult process goes smoothly so you and your pet can enjoy your trip instead of enduring a nightmare of bureaucratic hassles in a foreign country.  Please be prepared to work with them as they do their best to make a very complex process as simple as possible for you.

 

Traveling to Rabies-controlled areas such as Hawaii, Australia, Japan, Fiji, Tahiti etc.:

     

     Many island nations, states and territories are free of rabies virus.  Many, such as the UK, are nearly free of it and highly regulate it in an effort to free themselves of it.  Importing an animal capable of being infected with rabies into these countries is a major hassle.  Because rabies is capable of infecting every mammal used by humans for food, fur and companionship, as well as humans, and a human being with rabies has essentially zero chance of surviving the infection without major brain damage, if they survive at all, countries that are free of rabies do not mess around about keeping rabies out.  

     Because of this hassle you will want to start your preparations for traveling to one of these areas with your pet at least 6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE.  You can do it in less time but you run the risk of some part of your pet’s paperwork not being perfectly completed which leaves you in the unpleasant situation of your pet being quarantined, against your will but at your expense, or cutting your trip short so you can take your pet back home, or leaving your pet at home with incomplete paperwork.  The following website will give you an idea of how serious rabies free areas are about quarantining animals to prevent rabies from entering their nation/state/territory. http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/animal-quarantine-information-page/

     Most rabies free countries have stringent requirements about what is known as a Rabies FAVN (pronounced fav’n) test.  FAVN stands for Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization.  This is the only test in the world certified as proof that the antibodies generated by a rabies vaccine are fully capable of neutralizing the virus, thus preventing an animal from being infected by the rabies virus.  If the titer, or level of such antibodies in the blood, of your pet is not sufficiently high your pet will not be allowed entry into the nation/state/territory in question.  There is only one laboratory in the United States that is certified and allowed to perform this test.  Completing this test is time consuming and the lab does not allow ‘rush’ orders.

     Most rabies free countries also have stringent requirements about the timing of this test relative to your pet’s most recent rabies vaccine, and your planned entry date into the country in question.  You have to wait a sufficient length of time after the vaccine to perform the test, and then you need to wait for your results to come back from the laboratory before you can even be sure if the last vaccine was effective enough to allow your pet to be imported.  

     What often ends up happening is a pet owner visits us to start plans for traveling to a rabies-controlled area, without being aware of any of these regulations, only to discover their pet’s rabies vaccine is overdue.  So, we have to vaccinate the pet for rabies, and wait the prescribed length of time before submitting the rabies FAVN test.  Then we have to wait for the test results.  By this time the date set for the trip has passed and the owner left their pet at home because the owner didn’t allow sufficient time in advance of the trip to complete all these steps and their associated waiting periods.  This web article is our attempt to educate our clientele in advance about this complex and time consuming process.

    These rules apply to assistance animals, therapy animals, service animals, and emotional support animals just like they do to pets.  DO NOT ASSUME that you will be granted an exception simply because you need to keep your animal with you at all times.  You WILL be disappointed.  Also, the laws of the United States that provide special allowances for therapy, service, assistance and emotional support animals do not apply outside of the United States.